Best Dessert If Someone Else Is Paying - 2011
The Madison Restaurant
102 Pine Ave.
Long Beach, CA 90802
The jumbo-lump, blue crabmeat crab cakes with citrus butter sauce. The warm baby-spinach salad with apple-cider balsamic vinaigrette. The "Fred Astaire" beef Wellington with filet mignon, foie gras and mushroom duxelle wrapped in puff pastry with a shower of Pinot Noir sauce. Yep, if someone else is paying at this hoity-toity restaurant that appears to have been created by The Sting's set designer, these dishes are hard to forget. But even more memorable, if you call ahead and order it for your meal-ender at the restaurant located in an old bank vault in downtown Long Beach, is the Madison Grand Chocolate Piano. It's not a personal performance from an ivory-tickler, but rather the elaborate chocolate centerpiece the chef makes for special occasions. It's so beautiful you'll hesitate before tearing into the sweet, black-and-white delight. But it's not like you'll be coming back soon, unless you find someone else to pay for it, so dig in; sample the other cakes, pastries and fruit on the platter; and clink your Millionaire Martini (or the more expensive Billionaire) glass to a classy capper to a classy night in a classy joint. $$$$